GOP Congress Member Wants To Remove Cannabis Banking Protections From Spending Bill, Calls For Prohibition To Continue

Zinger Key Points
  • Rep. Chuck Edwards targets cannabis banking protections in the 2025 appropriations bill, citing public safety and legal concerns.
  • Opposing views within the GOP highlight the debate, with Ohio's Rep. Dave Joyce supporting the protections to reduce cash-related crimes.
  • The amendment could significantly impact the cannabis industry's financial operations amidst evolving federal and state regulations.

Rep. Chuck Edwards (R-NC) is seeking to strip cannabis banking protections from the 2025 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill. During a subcommittee markup session on Wednesday, Edwards voiced strong opposition to section 134, which would safeguard financial institutions working with state-legal cannabis businesses from federal penalties.

Edwards argued that the provision acts as an "affirmative authorization disguised as a limitation" on federal funds, contradicting historical legislative practices. He contended, "Our country has never allowed a federally illegal activity to be banked," noting that cannabis still remains a Schedule I drug under federal law.

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GOP Clash Over Cannabis Banking: Edwards Opposes, Joyce Supports

In expressing his concern, Edwards cited the potential danger that cannabis use would pose, particularly to youth, and anticipated his intent to propose an amendment to remove section 134. "Marijuana is still illegal, and I believe that it should remain illegal. It's dangerous, and more and more evidence is being found that it causes irreparable harm," he stated.

In contrast, Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) supports the banking protections, arguing that forcing cannabis businesses to operate in cash increases the risk of violent crime. The proposed section of the bill aims to prevent federal regulators from penalizing financial institutions servicing state-licensed cannabis and hemp businesses. Joyce described the current all-cash operations as a "magnet for violent crime."

Section 134 of the proposed appropriations bill.

Broader Impact On Cannabis Industry And D.C.

Edwards’ move could significantly impact the cannabis industry, especially as it continues to navigate the complex landscape of conflicting state and federal regulations. While the SAFE Banking Act, a standalone bill with broader protections, is still under consideration, the integration of some of its points into the appropriations bill reflects the GOP’s interest in addressing financial hurdles faced by cannabis businesses. 

In addition to the banking protections, the bill also omits a rider blocking Washington, D.C. from using local funds to regulate recreational cannabis sales. This rider had been championed by Rep. Andy Harris (R) in previous years but was removed under Joyce’s leadership.

Amidst these developments, the House passed amendments to a veterans’ affairs bill allowing VA doctors to recommend medical cannabis. As the appropriations bill moves forward, Edwards’ planned amendment will likely reignite debates in Congress over cannabis policy.

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsAndy HarrisChuck EdwardsD.C. cannabisD.C. Cannabis salesDave JoyceSafer ActSAFER Banking Act
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